"We know but too well that we deteriorate by our friction with the world. Our clothes get worse for the wear, and so do our souls. The trees and flowers lose their bloom in the midst of large cities, and become sickly and easily die; so the spirit becomes tainted with the atmosphere around it - often indeed, it falls into serious disorder with complications. What hubbub, what warfare, what tumult it has to live in! Who shall stand unscathed, loyal to faith and generous self-sacrificing love in the midst of it? Men of business, in the forge and working-house of thought, get away to the pure air of the country to recoup their powers. Must we not do likewise - get out of the turmoil of life, and enjoy the spiritual atmosphere of the retreat, to restore and renew our spiritual life and vigour?" (from Fervorinos from the Lips of the Master, compiled by a Religious, Pelligrini, Australia, 1940, pp. 240-241)
While we shall stick to the 'adventure' we began over a month ago, this week we're doing things a little differently. Taking a cloistered break, perhaps. Not moving away from the monastery.... oh, indeed not.... but instead (hopefully) sinking more deeply into it. I will be looking out, this week, for things to help us do just that.
In my part of the world, we're in the thick of summer. Summer heat, summer gatherings, summer noise. Picnics, reunions, sports, weddings, children's activities.... while these may be enjoyable, they can produce a hubbub and tumult in which we come face to face with the challenge to "stand unscathed, loyal to faith and self-sacrificing love."
Even those inside monasteries go on retreat - right where they are. They go into seclusion (normally once a year) for their own spiritual refreshment.
I found three minutes of refreshment by watching the following video. But I didn't merely watch it. I "settled into it" and let it simply wash over me. Then I did so again.
Got three minutes? That's all this takes........
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To continue this brief 'retreat,' click this line